By JOEL McNEECE
Concord Baptist Church, one of the oldest in Calhoun County, is preparing to build its third church building in its 171-year history.
Bill Williamson, pastor of the approximate 130-member church, said construction on the new facility will likely begin in July.
The current church building was built in 1932. It suffered some damage from fallen trees in a spring storm in 2009 and it was at that time members began discussions of building a new building, Williamson said. The church voted last September to move forward with the new building project, which will involve demolishing the current structure and building a new one to face the intersection of county roads 235 and 238 from high atop the hill.
“Our people had a lot of memories in the building built back in 1932,” Williamson said. “However, we knew that the church was the people, not the building.”
Williamson said the church plans to erect the new church building without borrowing any money. They have worked to build their fund to more than $150,000 through the generous donations of their members and supporters.
“We call our proposed building the ‘Miracle Building,” Williamson said.
(Terry) Martin Construction will handle the bulk of the project, but a team of volunteers will also do portions of the work.
Church members have been working on Saturdays to salvage portions of the old church building to prepare for the demolition. The church has been holding its services in its fellowship hall, a building constructed 10 years ago under the leadership of its former pastor Hollis Bryant. Storage buildings have been converted into temporary Sunday school rooms.
Their facilities aren’t the roomiest right now, but that won’t be an issue in the new church building. It will be 50 feet wide and 126 feet deep. A hallway connecting the sanctuary, which will seat 206 people, to the education rooms will be decorated with the current chandeliers in the old church building and pictures from the church’s history.
The architecture of the new building will be highlighted by a large bell tower in front.
Williamson said Concord’s members agreed the church house should look as good as their own house while being good stewards at the same time.
“Our members and especially the building committee has really worked hard for this project,” Williamson said.
The building committee consists of Thomas Dunn, William Smithson, Sam Burt, Jacky Williamson, Tammy Hellums and Michael Huffman.